Type Private
Industry Online services
Online publishing
Software publishing
Founded 1983
Headquarters Provo, Utah, US
Key people Tim Sullivan, President/CEO[1]
Family Tree Maker software
Revenue US$399.7 million (2011)
Owner(s) Permira and co-investors
Employees Over 1,000 worldwide (2012)
Website International:
Europe: Inc., formerly The Generations Network, is a privately held Internet company based in Provo, Utah, United States. The largest for-profit genealogy company in the world, it operates a network of genealogical and historical record websites focused on the United States and nine foreign countries, develops and markets genealogical software, and offers a wide array of genealogical related services.[2] As of September 2012, the company provided access to approximately 11 billion records, 40 million family trees, and 2 million paying subscribers.[3]

In addition to its flagship site, operates,, ProGenealogists,,,,, and[4] Family Tree Maker software developed and marketed by the company is advertised as "the #1 selling family history software".

Under its subsidiaries, operates foreign sites that provide access to services and records specific to other countries in the languages of those countries. These include several countries in Europe (covered by Europe S.à r.l.[5]) as well as Australia, Canada, and China.


Infobases, Inc.Edit

Ancestry dot com headquarters headquarters in Provo, Utah

In 1990, Paul B. Allen (not to be confused with Microsoft cofounder Paul G. Allen) and Dan Taggart, two Brigham Young University graduates, founded Infobases and began offering Latter-day Saints (LDS) publications on floppy disks. Allen's brother Curt and his brother-in-law Brad Pelo had founded Folio Corporation, where Paul Allen had worked in 1988. Infobases chose to use the Folio infobase technology which Allen was familiar with as the basis for their products.

The first products were floppy disks and compact disks sold from the back seat of their car. In 1994 Infobases was named among Inc. magazine's 500 fastest-growing companies.[6] Their first offering on CD was the LDS Collectors Edition, released in April 1995, selling for $299.95,[7] which was offered in an on-line version in August 1995.[8]


On 1 January 1997, Infobases' parent company, Western Standard Publishing, purchased Ancestry, Inc.,[9] publisher of Ancestry magazine and genealogy books. Founded in 1983 by John Sittner as a genealogy newsletter, Ancestry magazine had been launched in January 1994. Western Standard Publishing's CEO was Joe Cannon, one of the principal owners of Geneva Steel.[10]

In July 1997, Allen and Taggart purchased Western Standard's interest in Ancestry, Inc. At the time, Brad Pelo was president and CEO of Infobases, and president of Western Standard. Less than six months earlier, he had been president of Folio Corporation, whose digital technology Infobases was using. In March 1997, Folio was sold to Open Market for $45 million.[11] The first public evidence of the change in ownership of Ancestry Magazine came with the July/August 1997 issue, which showed a newly reorganized Ancestry, Inc., as its publisher. That issue's masthead also included the first use of the web address.

More growth for Infobases occurred in July 1997 when Ancestry, Inc., purchased Bookcraft, Inc., a publisher of books written by leaders and officers of the LDS Church.[12][13] Infobases had published many of Bookcraft's books as part of its LDS Collector's Library. Pelo also announced that Ancestry's product line would be greatly expanded in both CDs and online. Alan Ashton, a longtime investor in Infobases, and founder of WordPerfect, was its chairman of the board. Allen and Taggart began running Ancestry, Inc. independently from Infobases in July 1997, and began creating one of the largest online subscription-based genealogy database services.[14]

In April 1999, to better focus on its and Internet businesses, Infobases sold the Bookcraft brand name and its catalog of print books to its major competitor in the LDS book market, Deseret Book. Included in the sale were the rights to Infobases's LDS Collector's Library on CD. A year earlier, Deseret Book had released a competing product called GospeLink, and the two products were combined as a single product by Deseret Book.[15][16]

The website launched in December 1998, with additional free sites beginning in March 1999.[17] The site generated one million registered users within its first 140 days.[14] The company raised more than US$90 million in venture capital from investors[14] and changed its name on 17 November 1999 from, Inc. to, Inc. Its three Internet genealogy sites were then called,, and[18] Sales for 2002 were about US$62 million, and those for 2003 were US$99 million.[19]

In March 2004, the company opened a new call center in Provo as a result of outgrowing their old call center in Orem. The new call center accommodates about 700 agents at a time.[20] Heritage Makers was acquired by in September 2005,[21] and sold a year later in August 2006. The website was opened on 24 January 2006.[22] In March 2006, MyFamily opened a new office in Bellevue, Washington, as part of the MyFamily business unit.[23] Encounter Technologies was acquired in April 2006.[24]

File:The Generations Network 2007 logo.svg

On 19 December 2006, the company changed its name to "The Generations Network."[25] While the company had been offering free access to at LDS Family History Centers, that service was terminated on 17 March 2007 because of the inability to reach a mutually agreeable licensing agreement between TGN and the LDS Church. In 2010, Ancestry restored access to its site at Family History Centers.

On 6 July 2009, the company changed its name to "".[26]

In 2010, Ancestry sold its book publishing assets to Turner Publishing.[27] In the same year, the company discontinued the publication of Ancestry Magazine, after 25 years of publication[28] and Genealogical Computing.[29] became a publicly traded company on NASDAQ (symbol: ACOM) on 5 November 2009 with an initial public offering of 7.4 million shares priced at $13.50 per share underwritten by Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Jefferies & Company, Piper Jaffray, and BMO Capital Markets.[30][31]

The company continued its partnership with NBC for the second season of the Who Do You Think You Are? television series in 2011.[32]

In 2010, expanded its location to San Francisco, California, starting its office in San Francisco with brand new engineering, product, and marketing teams. The San Francisco office is geared toward developing some of Ancestry's cutting-edge technology and services. Some of their recent initiatives include iPhone and iPad application development.

In December 2011, moved the Social Security Death Index search behind a paywall and stopped displaying the Social Security information of people who had died within the past 10 years because of identity theft concerns.[33]

In June 2012, rumors that Ancestry was working with Qatalyst Partners to put itself up for sale began to circulate.[34]

In October 2012, purchased a photo digitization and sharing service called 1000Memories.[35]

In October 2012, agreed to be acquired by a private equity group consisting of Permira Advisers LLP, members of's management team, including CEO Tim Sullivan and CFO Howard Hochhauser, and Spectrum Equity for $32 per share or around $1.6 billion.[36][37]

Products and servicesEdit is a subscription-based genealogy research website with over 5 billion records online.[38] The majority of records are from the United States, though records are being added for other countries, such as Canada, the UK, and European countries. Some records are free for anyone to access, but the majority are accessible only by paid subscription.

On 22 June 2006, completed the indexing and scanning of all of the United States Federal Census records from 1790 through 1930.[39][40] was nominated for a 2007 CODiE Award in the "Best Online Consumer Information Service" category.[41]

For genetic genealogy, offers genealogical DNA tests of autosomal DNA, paternal Y-chromosome DNA and maternal mitochondrial DNA.[42]

Site users and trafficEdit

In the first quarter of 2012, Ancestry had 1.87 million users.[43] According to Quantcast, as of April 2012, reached a rough estimate of 8.3 – 8.4 million people in the US.[44]

Other sitesEdit allows members to create private family or group websites. Customization is limited. The 1998 version is still available but no further enhancements are planned. After three years of a beta release 2.0, it is currently running the first non-beta release, " 2.5.3". However, since the architecture was changed so radically from 2.0 to 2.5, internally at MyFamily all references to v2.5 are actually being called v3.0.[45] Users of version 3.0 (aka 2.5) last saw an update to the code in February 2010, so since that date both v1.0 and v3.0 have been 'frozen'.[46] Migration services from v1.0 to v3.0 were stopped 21 March 2010 with no reason given.[47] Many features of the original version of the site have not yet been ported to this release, although new features such as video support, blog support, social group interface, and unlimited storage have been introduced.[48] Also in May 2010, MyFamily closed their Bellevue, Washington development office effectively letting their entire staff go since the offer to move to Provo, Utah, was not taken up by any staff. Since the loss of the Washington office, no new features have been added nor have any current problems/bugs been resolved. As of July 2010, free sites on v3.0 were discontinued.[46]

MyFamily sites were discontinued in 2014.

RootsWeb was acquired by in June 2000.[49] RootsWeb is a free genealogy community that uses online forums, mailing lists, and other resources to help people research their family history. Founded in 1993 by Brian Leverich and Karen Isaacson as the Roots Surname List, it is the oldest free online community genealogy research site.[50] Users can upload GEDCOM files of their information for others to search at the WorldConnect portion of the site. Trees uploaded to WorldConnect are searchable at both the RootsWeb and Ancestry websites. is a genealogy research website with some records not found on, though the total number of records available is smaller. was acquired from A&E Networks by in 2003.[51] allows one to search public records for living people in the United States.[52], acquired in Fall 2010, has a large collection of documents dealing with the United States, including military records, city directories, and newspapers.[53] Footnote has been rebranded as fold3. is the official research firm.

Family Tree MakerEdit

Family Tree Maker (FTM)
Original author(s) Kenneth Lafferty Hess[54]
Developer(s), Inc.
Initial release 1989[55]
Stable release 2012 (29 Sept 2011)[56]
Operating system Windows, Mac
Available in English
Type Genealogy software
License Proprietary

Family Tree Maker (FTM) is advertised as "the #1 selling family history software".[57] As with other genealogy software, FTM allows the researcher to keep track of information collected during research and to create reports, charts, and books containing that information. The software was originally developed by Kenneth Hess of Banner Blue Software,[54] which was purchased by Brøderbund in 1995.[58] It passed through the hands of The Learning Company, Mattel, and others before coming under its current ownership.

A redesigned Family Tree Maker 2008 was released on 14 August 2007.[59] The 2009 version of the program corrected some of the errors and omissions of its predecessor, and introduced a few new features. Family Tree Maker 2010 claims to further enhance the radical re-design and be more powerful and feature-packed with faster navigation and quicker load times.[60]

A version for the Mac was released in 1997, but due to low market demand was discontinued[61] for over a decade. A new version of Family Tree Maker for Mac was finally released on 4 November 2010.[62]

Family Tree Maker Version 16 was awarded a CODiE Award in the "Best Consumer Productivity Solution" category in 2006.[63]

FTM version historyEdit

Please press show for more information on past versions.

Past productsEdit

Past genealogy programs.

Copying informationEdit

Most of the company's information is copyright, with a minor exclusion indicated in the following sentence from the terms and conditions:

Online or other republication of Content is prohibited except as unique data elements that are part of a unique family history or genealogy.

See alsoEdit


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  2. ^ Peter Wayner (22 April 2004). "From Shared Resources, Your Personal History". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 April 2007. 
  3. ^ " Inc. Reports Q3 2012 Financial Results". Retrieved 17 February 2013. 
  4. ^ "". Archived from the original on 24 December 2006. Retrieved 26 December 2006. 
  5. ^ " Europe S.à r.l.". Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  6. ^ "Backing into a lucrative business". Deseret News. 11 June 2000. 
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  8. ^ "LDS Materials Available Online". Deseret News. 3 August 1995. 
  9. ^ "About Western Standard Publishing". Archived from the original on 16 June 2008. Retrieved 21 September 2008. 
  10. ^ "Genealogy business booms as boomers seek out roots". Deseret News. 5 April 1997. 
  11. ^ "Western Standard sells interest in business magazine to Utah County man". Deseret News. 4 June 1997. 
  12. ^ "Infobases acquires LDS publishing house". Deseret News. 1 July 1997. 
  13. ^ "Happily joined". Deseret News. 5 April 1998. 
  14. ^ a b c "Infobase Ventures Portfolio Companies". Infobase Ventures. Archived from the original on 28 May 2007. Retrieved 21 April 2008. 
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  17. ^ " begins offering free sites". 11 March 1999. Archived from the original on 16 November 2006. Retrieved 26 December 2006. 
  18. ^ ", Inc. Changes Corporate Name to, Inc.". 17 November 1999. 
  19. ^ Paul Allen (20 May 2006). "My Companies: A Chronological View of My Entrepreneurial Endeavors". Archived from the original on 18 April 2008. Retrieved 21 April 2008. 
  20. ^ "MyFamily growing in Utah". Deseret News. 13 April 2004. Archived from the original on 21 April 2008.,1249,595055685,00.html. Retrieved 21 April 2008. 
  21. ^ ", Inc. Acquires Heritage Makers". PR Newswire. 21 September 2005. Retrieved 21 April 2008. 
  22. ^ "Most Comprehensive Collection of Canadian Family Research Records Online Launches at". 24 January 2006. Retrieved 26 December 2006. 
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  41. ^ "Finalists — The 22nd Annual SIIA Codie Awards". Archived from the original on 25 January 2007. Retrieved 26 January 2007. 
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  43. ^ " For Sale?". Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
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  48. ^ "Feature Tour". Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
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  52. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Archived from the original on 3 January 2007. Retrieved 26 December 2006. 
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  55. ^ Family Tree Maker: 20-Year Anniversary!, Posted by Tana L. Pedersen on 29 September 2011 in Site, Company News, Family Tree Maker
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  72. ^ Re: FTM 6.0 and NT?, From: Paul Burchfield, Date: 31 March 1999, RootsWeb: GENCMP-L
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  92. ^
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  125. ^ Family Origins Newsletter, This will probably be the last issue of the Family Origins newsletter (I hear a lot of you saying "I thought you stopped writing it a long time ago <g>). As many of you know, we (FormalSoft) have been working on a new genealogy program called RootsMagic which we released in February 2002. Many of you have been using Family Origins since we first licensed it to Parsons Technology over 12 years ago. You have gone through all the company changes with us (Parsons, Intuit, Broderbund, The Learning Co. , Mattel, of January 2003, has discontinued our Family Origins program...
  126. ^ a b Buys Generations, Dick Eastman Online, 25 July 2002 – Archive,
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  131. ^ ROOTS, by CommSoft (Herb Drake/Howard Nurse)

External linksEdit

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